By Ronald Bailey (SMDC/ARSTRAT)October 31, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - The U.S. Army's senior Air Defense Artillery Officer, Lt. Gen. James H. Dickinson, commanding general of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, discussed the history, transformation, modernization and the future of Army Air Defense and Field Artillery at Redstone Arsenal's Saint Barbara day dinner, Oct. 27.
Speaking to the gathered audience of active and retired Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery personnel, spouses, and guests, Dickinson congratulated the evening's inductees into the Order of Saint Barbara (Ancient and Honorable-levels), as well as the Order of Molly Pitcher.
"You have proven worthy of this honor by your exceptionally high standards in many respects including integrity, character, professionalism, and selflessly dedicating yourselves to improving our Fires community," said Dickinson, "I want to thank each of you for everything you've done for the air defense and field artillery."
Dickinson specifically pointed to 2018 as a special milestone year for the ADA Branch, which celebrated its 50th anniversary. While looking back on ADA's strategic significance, he told the crowd that today it is time to refocus on readiness and investment in air defenders and field artillery Soldiers. He reinforced what Secretary of the Army Mark Esper said during the recent Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting that the Army is entering a time of renaissance after years of sequestration and budget uncertainty.
Later, Dickinson stated the future is driving the Army to a renaissance and discussed a few of the key items he sees evolving such as: high-energy lasers and sensors, efforts to ensure ADA systems become more interoperable, and greater integration of space capabilities and applications.
"In the Multi-Domain Operations concept we'll see a big influence from the continuing convergence of space capabilities and applications, cyber, electronic warfare and information operations," Dickinson said, "and we'll be working out how to integrate the Fires community with all of that, both offensively and defensively."
Turning his attention to the future of the acquisition and fielding arena, Dickinson discussed how the new Army Futures Command and Cross-Functional Teams are central to the Army's transformation as they strive to rapidly develop future force requirements and necessary lethality options. He noted how the Army Futures Command will bring the processes together into a more synchronized, agile and flexible process.
"We'll see a faster moving pipeline for innovation, experimentation and demonstration," Dickinson said. "We'll see rapid prototyping and testing - not afraid to fail early and cheaply to move forward."
The general closed his remarks by stating that at the center of everything the Army does are the Soldiers who will continue to be ready to fight. He thanked their families for providing the stability, resilience and strength that underlies the readiness of their Soldiers.